Iron is an important
trace mineral, with the atomic number of 26, and is part of the vital activity of the blood and
glands. It is responsible for
the oxygen transport and the formation of red blood cells. It is
part of the enzymes haemoglobin (in the blood) and myoglobulin (in
the muscles) and of other enzymes. It is also important in the
energy production and it is vital for a correctly functioning immune system and repairs and recovery from infections, injuries and surgery.
Iron exists chiefly as haemoglobin in the blood. It distributes the oxygen inhaled into the lungs to all the cells. It is the master mineral which creates warmth, vitality and stamina. It is required for the healthy complexion and for building up resistance in the body. Iron also improves physical performances,
prevents and cures
anaemia, increases immunity, raises energy levels and holds the energy level stable.
Women absorb more iron than men, but iron deficiencies are more common for women than men. This is because of the loss of blood during the menstruation. Also the blood production for the foetus, breast-feeding, and the use of a spiral, has claim a lot of the iron reserves of a woman. Studies have shown that women from the adolescence until the menopause have a large risk of developing a chronic iron deficiency. As a consequence anaemia can develop. Symptoms of women with iron deficiency are a lowered appetite, fatigue, headaches, heart
palpitations, pale skin, respirations difficulties in case of physical effort and tingling of the hands and feet.
Iron is an important component in cognitive, motor sensor and social-emotional development and functioning. Iron deficiency leads to an insufficient number of red blood cells which can cause symptoms of depression like fatigue, brain fog, loss of appetite and irritability. It also
helps prevent learning problems for children and promotes a calm sleep.
The World Health Organization estimates that 600 - 700 million people are deficient in iron, probably making it the most common nutritional deficiency disorder in the world.
deficiency is generally caused by severe blood loss, malnutrition,
infections and by excessive use of drugs and chemicals and drinking too much alcohol. It may cause
anaemia, lowered resistance to disease, a general run down
condition, pale complexion, getting tired easily, shortness of
breath on manual exertion and loss of interest in sex. Iron is the
classic remedy for anaemia. However, there are several forms of
anaemia, and iron deficiency anaemia is only one.
Iron deficiency can also cause
dyspnoea (breathlessness), insomnia, heart palpitations. headache, a poor appetite and tingling
hands and feet.
of iron and
may be responsible for the anxiety, distress and hyperventilation which
accompanies panic attacks. When consuming
iron rich foods, one should also consume foods rich in
vitamin C everyday.
Vitamin A helps move iron from storage in the body, without adequate amounts of vitamin A the body cannot regulate iron properly leading to an iron deficiency.
Heme or ferrous iron is the most readily absorbed form of iron and is found in red meat, poultry, fish and shellfish. Non-heme iron is less absorbable than heme iron and is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale as well as eggs, milk and meat. Sources of non-heme iron often contain phytates which bind to iron and carry it through the digestive tract unabsorbed. Phytates can reduced iron absorption by up to 80%. As a result, the plant foods with high iron content are not always the best sources. By weight, soya beans have twice the iron of beef, but only about 7% of the iron in soya beans is absorbed. Spinach is also high in iron, but less than 2% in cooked spinach is absorbed. Eating some vitamin C rich foods such as a couple of strawberries, an orange, kiwi fruit, tangerine or some mango at the same time as consuming these non-heme containing foods can assist in better absorption.
Cooking in iron pots can add extra iron to the diet especially if acidic foods are cooked at high temperatures.
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